Ms. Mower visiting the girls at her alma mater in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, formerly the HH Aga Khan Girls Secondary School during her time, now the Zanaiki Girls School.

FY2012 media development events

In 2012, the Voice of America Office of Development and International Media Training organized and coordinated several media management training programs and town hall meetings across VOA’s broadcasting regions – from Africa to Latin America to South East Asia and the Balkan states. Through collaboration with sponsoring agencies such as the USAID and the Department of State, the training of journalists in these regions promotes the access to news and information to our audiences. The town halls have provided forum to educate our audiences about entrepreneurship, health and wellness, disease prevention and care, and other factors such as behavioral changes that have significant impact in their lives.

A trip by Ms. Mower to Tanzania from October 23-27, 2012 highlighted several factors that have direct impact on VOA’s presence in Tanzania. Her meeting with US Embassy PAO and USAID health and economic team (sponsored of Je Nifanyeje – a Swahili Service Health Program) was positive and was reassured of future support. Expanded intersection with other USG-funded projects such as safe motherhood, which is a big USG priority was discussed. Ms. Mower also discussed issues of distribution and program carrying contracts with affiliates such as RFA in Mwanza which has a nationwide reach, affiliates in Iringa, Tanga and Dodoma. These affiliates have greater interest in local content, more town halls, and the inclusion of boys in the calls in shows. There are even more opportunities for more affiliations with local media ownership.

Between October 28, and November 1, 2012, Joan Mower, VOA’s Director, Business Development Office trip to Burundi included attending a Town Hall meeting on Entrepreneurship. Over 100 people attended, including at least a dozen reporters who were trained on covering business news. Speakers discussed challenges of setting up a business, successes, obstacles and the need for Burundians to learn English. While on the trip, Ms. Mower explored the possibilities of installing an FM dish at the new US Embassy complex, obtaining broadcast licenses, and spent time with our affiliates RPA, Bonisha, Rema and the State radio station. She also met with the VOA reporters on the ground, the PAO and the DCM.

The Voice of America Office of International Media Training organized and coordinated a media management training program Malawi Broadcasting Corporation during the week of October 29th, 2012.  Program Officer Sandra Stewart and Regional Marketing Director, Paula Caffey planned the program.  Dr. Sam Swan, Professor at the University of Tennessee, conducted the training.  The training was requested by Malawi Broadcasting Corporation.  Dr. Swan developed the program modalities to response to specific topics requested by Dr. Benson Tembo, Director General of MBC. Topics of interest included programming changes to reach the most audience, management efficiencies, local content productions, equipment updates, and personnel issues such as training, moral and professionalism in reporting.

From October 18-20, 2012, the BBG’s Office of Strategy and Development conducted training for fifteen reporters and editors from print, radio and television networks across Moldova at a seminar organized by Independent Journalism Center (IJC). Funded by the USAID under the Rule of Law Institutional Strengthening Program (ROLISP), the training was part of a one-year-project “Mass-media and Judicial System in Moldova: Strengthening Capacity and Promoting Responsibility” implemented in partnership between BBG and IJC. The seminar held at the IT Relax resort in Vadul- lui-Vode outside Chisinau.

The seminar was attended and observed by Lauren Perlaza, PAO U.S. Embassy Chisinau; USAID’s Frederick Yeager, Chief of Party, ROLISP; and Sandina Dicianu, Outreach and Communications Specialist, ROLISP.

Special interest areas discuss included: “Best practices” and ethics for journalists covering judicial issues; corruption and journalists’ contribution to preventing and combating this phenomenon, moderated by  founder and head of the Moldovan NGO — the Center for the Analysis and Prevention of Corruption Galina Bostan; and role and issues of online and New Media, especially audience interactions via Facebook and Twitter. Trainees were particularly interested in Ten New Media Rules adopted by the American Association of News Editors (ASNE) in May 2011

The press release “Legal aspects for a better journalism as seen by the guild,” noted that “the participants found the program very useful, mentioning that they would apply in practice the recommendations provided by the experts, thus contributing to strengthening professional journalism based on rights and responsibilities.”